Unbroken: A Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption

Author: Laura Hillenbrand

Even from his toddler years Louie Zamperini was an unpredictable firecracker.  Uncontrollable energy led him down the road of delinquency, until one day when Louie's brother steered all his determination into running.  It became evident that Louie had a talent for the sport which could take him places.  After competing in the 1936 Olympics, Louie was determined to win in 1940 and become the first man to run a four minute mile.  Unfortunately with the onset of World War II his quest was ended, and Louie found himself in the service.  After his plane went down over the ocean, Louie survived 47 days aboard a life boat, only to be rescued and thrown into a Japanese prison camp.   Forced to endure horrible treatment at the hands of his captors, Louie was very near death by the time he was liberated in 1945.  As he adjusted to life as a free man back home, Louie, like so many other POWs, suffered from post traumatic stress disorder.  He spent the remainder of his life dealing with the horrors of his past and trying to make a happy life for himself and his family.

Several of my friends recommended this book to me, so without having any idea what it was about I got on a long waiting list at the library.  Admittedly it did take me a little while to get into the story, however once I did, I found it very enlightening and enjoyable.  This is one of the most in depth accounts of a Japanese POW that I have read.  Hillenbrand does an excellent job of describing life as it was in many of the camps, and giving her readers an idea of the conditions that so many serviceman endured.  As the story concludes, I found Louie's actions amazing and inspiring, as despite everything he suffered through he maintained his dignity and humanity.  Reader beware the POW camp conditions described in this book were not offensive, but truly horrific.  The torture inflicted was horrible even to read about, and I felt so sad for these men as I read about their trials.  In addition there is mention of fornication by the soldiers and pornography use.  Overall I would recommend this book to anyone interested in an amazing story about one man's refusal to give up.


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